Tip of the Day
Whole Grains Month
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend making half of the grains you eat whole, which means a person eating 2,000 calories per day needs to eat at least 48 grams of whole grain a day! So right now during Whole Grains Month let's review exactly what makes a grain whole.
Grains are divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire kernel — the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran and the germ of a grain supply most of the fiber, but when a grain is refined only the endosperm remains. So a refined-grain product loses most of its fiber and other important nutrients and phytonutrients.
Buying whole-grain products can be tricky because a label can read "Made with whole grains," but only have a small amount of whole grain. Labels can also read "100 percent wheat" but that doesn't mean it is 100 percent whole wheat. Here are some tips when shopping for whole grains:
- Does a product label claim a link between whole grains and a reduced risk for heart disease or some cancers? If so, the food must contain at least 51 percent whole grain.
- Read the ingredient list. Is the first ingredient on it whole grain? The first ingredient on the list is always the greatest amount in the food.
- Look for the voluntary Whole Grain Stamp on some labels indicating whether one serving of the food contains at least 8 grams of whole grain.
To learn more about choosing whole grains, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area and visit our Choose Whole Grains page.
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Reviewed July 2013